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J Pers. 1985 Jun;53(2):179-95.

Gender and victimization by intimates.


Recent data demonstrate that, although gender has an impact upon the experience of being a victim of an intimate's violence, there is no particular personality pattern that leads one to become a victim. Rather, women--who are socialized to adapt and submit, and who are likely to become victims of men's sexual violence or physical abuse--may not develop adequate self-protection skills as children, especially if they come from childhood homes in which females are victimized, leading to a later vulnerability to physical and sexual abuse. Men, however, socialized to express anger and aggression in an outward manner, learn to model the abuse witnessed or experienced in childhood and often learn that women are the "appropriate" recipients of this violence. Social learning theories of modeling and aggression are used to explain how such personality patterns develop, and the theory of learned helplessness is used to explain battered women's coping responses to their partners' abusive behavior. The extreme situation, in which a battered woman kills her partner in self-defense, is analyzed in order to understand women victims' sense of desperation and entrapment in severely abusive relationships and the extent to which their behaviors are in reaction to the abuse perpetrated by the mate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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